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What do you think of when someone says “Twitter”?

To me it evokes an elusive utility: a tool devised to connect us over distances, one that encourages quick and pithy pronouncements, one that has played a functional role in scattered public events within the past couple years — yet one that, for the larger part, produces nothing better than a steady barrage of inanity.

People you are dimly aware of stream minutial accounts of their trips to grocery stores in cities you’ve never cared to visit; far-flung erstwhile colleagues discuss their pets’ eating disorders; the dimmer lights of Congress petulantly flaunt their ignorance

I think of the luminaries at the top of this blogging game who still scratch their heads and pronounce that “no good can come of this.”

Now: what do you think of when someone says “New Yorker“?

Kind of the opposite, right? The √©lan vital of the elite virtu? A high-end, supremely literate, exhaustively verbose weekly burst of thoughtful observations on culture, global politics, and the humanities, to be perused at one’s leisure? Except that most people have neither the disposable income nor the time — the leisure — to enjoy it?

Sasha Frere-Jones deconstructs M.I.A. before she even exists; Seymour Hersh tunnels into our byzantine relationship with Pakistan’s I.S.I.; D.T. Max catalogues the tragic final months in the life of the mind of David Foster Wallace

I think of Charlie Kaufman’s sideways compliment to Susan Orlean in Adaptation: “Great, sprawling, New Yorker shit.”

Enter Dan Baum, whose exit from the New Yorker‘s writing staff became the subject of an essay that he dispatched through his Twitter account in hundreds of discrete “character chunks” over the course of three days within the past week.

It’s actually a fascinating story: we learn of how one attains a gig at journalism’s Shangri-La, how stories are pitched or assigned there, and how such gigs are lost to the ordinary grind of office politics.

Kottke points to the tweet archive. Simon Owens of Bloggasm scores an interview.

Now: should I tweet about having just blogged about Twitter?